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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — They might not have come right out and said it, order immune support dogs but the Patriots were fully aware of the attention given to the Houston Texans and their preference for play-action passes on offense.

So when quarterback Tom Brady perfectly sold a handoff the second time the Patriots had the ball, order immune support dogs receiver Brandon Lloyd never broke stride, order immune support dogs blowing past the Texans who bit on the run possibility. Order immune support dogs He caught Brady’s pass without a defender near him, order immune support dogs coasting into the end zone and pushing the Patriots’ lead to 14-0 in a game they would win handily, order immune support dogs 42-14, order immune support dogs Monday night at Gillette Stadium.

“That was definitely a scheme play, order immune support dogs” Lloyd said. Order immune support dogs “We worked hard on that all week, order immune support dogs and when the opportunity presented itself, order immune support dogs Coach [Josh] McDaniels called it at the right time and we were able to take advantage of it.”

Lloyd took advantage of his opportunities, order immune support dogs catching seven passes for 89 yards, order immune support dogs his second-highest total of the season.

He scored two touchdowns, order immune support dogs the second coming on a fumble recovery in the end zone, order immune support dogs after Danny Woodhead lost the ball on a screen pass. Order immune support dogs The ball bounced forward, order immune support dogs with Lloyd diving on it. Order immune support dogs Not how it’s drawn up, order immune support dogs but the way the night went.

“Just a screen pass, order immune support dogs we do our best to block downfield, order immune support dogs and unfortunately the ball popped out, order immune support dogs” Lloyd said. Order immune support dogs “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

Since the start of the season, order immune support dogs the Patriots’ depth chart on the offensive line read more like a wish list than a realistic starting lineup, order immune support dogs with an assortment of injuries resulting in five different combinations.

For the first time in a month, order immune support dogs and just the sixth time this season, order immune support dogs the Patriots began the game with the five players who are designated by the team as its starters: Nate Solder at left tackle, order immune support dogs Logan Mankins at left guard, order immune support dogs Ryan Wendell at center, order immune support dogs Dan Connolly at right guard, order immune support dogs and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.

The group was made whole again with the return of Mankins, order immune support dogs who had missed three consecutive games — and five of six — with ankle and calf injuries. Order immune support dogs He was back at practice last week, order immune support dogs in a limited role, order immune support dogs but was in the starting lineup Monday night, order immune support dogs relegating Donald Thomas to reserve status.

Another key starter also returned from injury, order immune support dogs with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, order immune support dogs back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski missed his third straight game with a broken forearm. Order immune support dogs The other inactive players were offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Markus Zusevics, order immune support dogs defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, order immune support dogs safety Derrick Martin, order immune support dogs and fullback James Develin, order immune support dogs who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. Order immune support dogs 28, order immune support dogs but has yet to play.

Bolden: Return man

The Patriots made the expected move official roughly three hours before kickoff, order immune support dogs activating Brandon Bolden to the 53-man roster and making him eligible to play against the Texans after the running back served a four-game suspension.

Bolden, order immune support dogs a rookie from Mississippi, order immune support dogs was suspended by the NFL on Nov. Order immune support dogs 9 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Order immune support dogs He hadn’t played since Oct. Order immune support dogs 14 at Seattle, order immune support dogs when he injured a knee against the Seahawks. Order immune support dogs The injury cost him two games, order immune support dogs then the suspension added four more.

With 234 yards on 43 carries, order immune support dogs Bolden came into the Texans game with the second-most rushing yards for the Patriots, order immune support dogs and his 5.4-yard average led the team. Order immune support dogs Stevan Ridley has been the workhorse since Bolden was forced out, order immune support dogs gaining 486 yards in the six games Bolden missed.

Bolden declined interview requests Saturday, order immune support dogs the first time he had been spotted in the locker room since the suspension was announced. Order immune support dogs But he was ready to talk after the game, order immune support dogs in which he played on special teams and got two late carries for 11 yards.

“Felt good, order immune support dogs” Bolden said. Order immune support dogs “Missing four weeks, order immune support dogs you try not to get out of shape, order immune support dogs you keep yourself active, order immune support dogs it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

“It was a mistake. Order immune support dogs Saddened that it happened, order immune support dogs but the team kept going, order immune support dogs so just got to keep moving forward, order immune support dogs” Bolden said. Order immune support dogs “Worked as hard as I could for as long as I could, order immune support dogs make sure I don’t fall too far off.”

Turning their way

Devin McCourty’s end-zone interception on Houston’s second offensive series of the game extended the Patriots’ streak of forcing at least one turnover to 24 games. Order immune support dogs The last team to force at least one turnover in every regular-season game was the 2010 Atlanta Falcons.

With the interception, order immune support dogs the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, order immune support dogs one behind the Chicago Bears. Order immune support dogs Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

“We know we have a good defense here, order immune support dogs we’ve played really well the last couple of weeks, order immune support dogs” McCourty said. Order immune support dogs “The biggest focus for us is just trying to build on that.”

Even when the Patriots fumbled the bounces went their way. Order immune support dogs Ridley lost the ball on the Patriots’ first drive of the game, order immune support dogs inside the Texans’ 5-yard-line, order immune support dogs but Aaron Hernandez jumped on it to extend the drive. Order immune support dogs On the next play, order immune support dogs Hernandez caught a 7-yard touchdown pass.



Early in the fourth quarter, order immune support dogs Woodhead fumbled after catching a screen pass and being hit from behind by J.J. Order immune support dogs Watt. Order immune support dogs The ball flew into the end zone, order immune support dogs with Lloyd diving on it for an unlikely touchdown.

Handing out Hall passes

If you’re a Patriots fan who’s never been to Canton, order immune support dogs Ohio, order immune support dogs and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame, order immune support dogs Canton is coming to you this week. Order immune support dogs Well, order immune support dogs at least it’s coming to Foxborough. Order immune support dogs In recognition of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, order immune support dogs the busts of the five former Patriots who have been enshrined — John Hannah, order immune support dogs Andre Tippett, order immune support dogs Nick Buoniconti, order immune support dogs Mike Haynes, order immune support dogs and Curtis Martin — will be on display at the Hall at Patriot Place.

The weeklong celebration will culminate with Sunday night’s home game against the San Francisco 49ers, order immune support dogs with Tippett, order immune support dogs Haynes, order immune support dogs and Martin serving as honorary captains.

Secondary injuries

One downside to the Patriots’ victory was injuries to the defensive secondary. Order immune support dogs The Patriots announced injuries to Aqib Talib (hip) and Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring). Order immune support dogs Neither returned to the game after getting injured . Order immune support dogs . Order immune support dogs . Order immune support dogs With Julian Edelman out for the season with a foot injury, order immune support dogs Wes Welker took over the Patriots’ punt return duties. Order immune support dogs He returned four for 50 yards, order immune support dogs with a long of 31 . Order immune support dogs . Order immune support dogs . Order immune support dogs Welker also caught three passes, order immune support dogs pushing his streak of consecutive regular-season games with a catch to 107 . Order immune support dogs . Order immune support dogs . Order immune support dogs Donte Stallworth made the most of his return to the Patriots. Order immune support dogs He caught only one pass from Brady, order immune support dogs but the catch-and-run went for 63 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter, order immune support dogs making it 28-0. Order immune support dogs It was a case of practice makes perfect, order immune support dogs even if the practice had been a while ago. Order immune support dogs “That particular play is something we had worked on, order immune support dogs even in the spring, order immune support dogs’’ he said. Order immune support dogs “It was just an opportunity where they were kind of flat-footed and it gave me an opportunity to run by the guy and Tommy made a great throw. Order immune support dogs He put it up for me to catch it and that’s what I did.’’ . Order immune support dogs . Order immune support dogs . Order immune support dogs His team off until Wednesday, order immune support dogs Celtics coach Doc Rivers was spotted on the sideline observing pregame warmups, order immune support dogs wearing a Patriots red sweater and chatting up his Patriots counterpart, order immune support dogs Bill Belichick. Order immune support dogs Also in on the conversation: Boston sports fan Mark Wahlberg. Order immune support dogs Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was also at the game, order immune support dogs wearing a No. Order immune support dogs 83 Patriots jersey . Order immune support dogs . Order immune support dogs . Order immune support dogs The Patriots extended their December winning streak to 13 games, order immune support dogs dating to a 22-21 loss at Miami on Dec. Order immune support dogs 6, order immune support dogs 2009. Order immune support dogs It ties the Patriots for the second-longest such streak with the Dallas Cowboys, order immune support dogs who accomplished the feat from 1968-72. Order immune support dogs The record belongs to the San Diego Chargers, order immune support dogs winners of 18 straight from 2006-09. Order immune support dogs New England also has won 21 straight games in the second half of the regular season. Order immune support dogs The Patriots went 8-0 in the second half of 2010, order immune support dogs 8-0 in 2011, order immune support dogs and have won their first five this season. Order immune support dogs The last loss from the back half of the schedule came in the regular-season finale in 2009, order immune support dogs when the Patriots lost at Houston, order immune support dogs 34-27 … In a pre-game Twitter message, order immune support dogs self-described Patriots fan Donald Trump posted, order immune support dogs “Good Luck to Bob Kraft, order immune support dogs Tom Brady and Coach Bob Belichick tonight.” Needless to say, order immune support dogs the Donald got plenty of unwanted attention for his fumble . Order immune support dogs . Order immune support dogs . Order immune support dogs Keep an eye out for Jerod Mayo on Tuesday. Order immune support dogs He’ll be joining Subway spokesman Jared Fogle during multiple appearances around town, order immune support dogs thanking unassuming fans with a dozen acts of kindness.

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Order immune support dogs Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

Source: http://bostonglobe.com/sports/2012/12/11/logan-mankins-returns-makes-patriots-line-whole/A1Xtp2mNJfSRC0vUxtSlUI/story.html